The idea of a prank had struck her just as she had turned around the corner and reached his club.

Four months of self-exile and Valeria was glad to breathe in the chaos and familiarity of the city she now called home. Since leaving Paris at the age of eighteen, Valeria had wandered around the globe, visiting different countries, meeting different people and living different lives but never had she ever felt the urge to stay or look back. It had often been months of fun and excitement before embarking on a new adventure. Evermore had changed that completely.

Her conflicting feelings, combined with distressing news from France had her tangled up, and it took Don coming to the city for her to realize just how much she needed a break. Since the time Maximilian had left her in charge of the faction, Val had been working constantly, hardly thinking of anything beyond the training and the dojo and it had taken a toll on her wanderlust heart. It was why, with some reluctance, she had accepted Don's suggestion of traveling for a while. He had given her six months-eight too if she needed to sort things out before coming back, but her own discovery of just how much Evermore had come to mean to her in such a short while had her returning in just four months.

It felt like she finally belonged and basking in the happiness and excitement of her Dhampir family, she knew without a doubt that she had finally found the home she had always been looking for. Amidst the people present, she had noted the absence of a certain someone and on inquiring had found out that he was now the proud owner of a club.

Deciding to surprise him, Val had driven over. Now, however, the thought of just going in and meeting him felt bland, and her giddy heart combined with her ever mischievous nature was in the mood for a prank. 

Memphis had tagged along as well, and walking up to the guard like she owned the place, she began speaking in rapid French. Confused and slightly baffled, he had led her to another man who had attempted to understand her words, but to no avail. 

"Je peux tout à fait comprendre chaque mot que vous dites, mais prétendre que je ne le fais pas est beaucoup plus amusant"(I can understand every word you are saying but pretending that I don't is much more fun) She replied loftily at his 'Pets aren't allowed here ma'am' "Je doute que Donovan soit en colère contre moi en m'amusant. Si rien d'autre, j'ai Memphis pour le convaincre" (I doubt Donovan is going to be mad at me having fun. If nothing else, I have Memphis to win him over )

On hearing Don's name, he disappeared, probably to get the man himself to deal with the situation. Val could almost imagine him describing her as a 'crazy french lady' and it wasn't long before the familiar figure of her best friend appeared at the doorway of the office where she had been siting. "Missed me?" she teasingly inquired getting up from the couch just as Memphis ran to greet him too. 

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One thing Donovan had always been good at, it was travel and living the grander life. It was the way the pair had met, Don had helped Valeria on a hike and the two had been close since then. When she called him in need he dropped everything settling down in a city for the first time in his life, for an extended period of time. At first it was to just help Valeria manage what was going on in her personal life -seemingly being the target of an unknown force- along with her faction. It became clear to the Male Dhampir that she needed to rediscover herself. She had become so disconnected with everything around her, even her rune casting wasn't up to par. Donovan told her he would stay in her place and keep the faction together while she took a much deserved vacation. Seeing her off Donovan didn't know how long she would be gone but he knew it was best to keep his best friend safe from a breakdown. With him settling into Evermore he found a reason to call it home.

Shortly after his blonde best friend left to go back to France, he found himself finding more than her just being the reason to settle in there. Finding the bitter news that the sister he had been looking for in fact had passed away, but did so being a guard to the aspect dying in the fall. After that meeting with the Ailwards he knew it was his choice to keep up the life of no roots or he could settle in and make roots. So that is what he did, building the Eternally Blue following his passion for music and just having a good time. He wanted to share his infectious need for fun with those in Evermore who clearly needed fun more than others from time to time.

There were only a few places to find Donovan in Evermore, The Dojo, Eternally Blue, or the Ailward Manor with his girlfriend Dawn though he tended to hang around the Manor in hopes to catch the copper haired aspect. His mind seem to always drift back to her even when he tried not to let it. Work was about the only thing that kept his mind busy, since he lived above the club it was easy to escape into it, all hours of the day. That day he was already settled in his apartment above the club as he sipped on his morning coffee when Jared walked in “ Feel free to have some coffee. Band here yet?” he asked the male.

“No not yet, there is some crazy french lady trying to get in with a dog.” Jared said.

“Since when do we not let people in along with their pets.” he raised a brow to Jared.

“Jenna put up a sign saying no animals something about code.” Jared replied.

“I don’t give two craps about what Jenna wants.” He sighed and shakes his head “Just let her in.”

“She was asking for you, we think. Only word we can make out is Donovan and Memphis.” Jared gave a shrug.

Donovan heads snapped up and gave a slow smirk, “Of course she would come back without telling me.” He stood up from his table and quickly made another mug of coffee bounding his way down the stairs. Walking into his office with a big grin on his face “I mean you are a sight for sore eyes Valhalla.” He sat the mugs on the desk and moved picking her up into a massive bear hug. Hugging her for a long moment before setting her back to her feet before running his hand over Memphis head softly.

“I missed having you around. But you were not supposed to be back for another two to four months. What happen, miss working that much?” he teased her offering her the mug he had made her of coffee. “Been an interesting ride since you have left if I am being honest.” He gave a soft chuckle. “Which I am guessing you know some of it, since you are in the Eternally Blue and not running all over town to look for me. Though I also guess a tracking rune make that a mute point also.” he chuckled and sipped his mug. “Thanks for confusing my staff by the way.”

Though she had been a popular kid in school, she hadn't really believed in the concept of friends. Valeria had always been uncomfortable sharing her emotions and deepest thoughts with others and that fact had carried itself into her adulthood. She had enjoyed living a fast-paced life where uncertainty was the rule of the day and people drifted by as she moved from place to place. Sure she had occasionally stayed in touch with those she had meet, but their relationship had hardly warranted a heart-to-heart. The only ever exception had been Max and a few others, but even then, she had spoken to them once in two months.

But each time she visited a new place, it had opened her up to new possibilities and she felt the closely guarded walls around her heart chip away piece by piece till people and places started creating a greater impact on her. Memphis had been the catalyst and it had only grown from there.

Her infectious grin widened at the sight of one of her closest friends. They were so alike in certain aspects and so dissimilar in others and since the moment they had met, she had considered him as a brother, often sharing things she had never talked about to anyone before. Chuckle as he enveloped her in a bear hug, she returned it with equal affection, feeling utterly glad that she had cut her visit short and had decided to come back early.

Val took a moment to appraise him before nonchalantly shrugging "Oh you know, I kinda missed home and everyone so I came back" While to an outsider, that pronouncement would have heard no significance, to someone who knew her very well, would understand that she had used the word home for the first time. Paris had been far from the safe shelter her childhood self had craved and as she grew older, she simply wandered around without having a sense of belongingness. Evermore had once been just a normal name in the list of places she had visisted, but the more she stayed, the more she felt like it was just the right fit for her. It had taken going away for Valeria to realise just how much it had meant to stay there- and a mere three months later, here she was again. 

Plopping down unceremoniously on the couch, she made herself comfortable "I am back and all ears to know about these 'interesting rides'. Though I am offended if you think I'd need a tracking rune to find you. I have my excellent sources who not only informed me about this place- which is absolutely stunning by the way and I totally want a tour later- but also told me about your frequent visits to the Ailward Manor. You are not developing a tendre for Venetus are you?" Her eyes twinkled mischievously at him, as Memphis moved around poking and exploring the place. "As for your staff, don't tell me you don't often find yourself entertained by crazy french ladies. Quel ennui (How boring) Don!" She patted the seat besides her, gesturing for him to sit "How about you get us some food and drinks and we can catch up. I have a few surprises in store for you too"

Donovan couldn’t put into words the joy he felt seeing the blonde who he had become close too. After knowing that his own sister was never to come back, he didn’t know how he would have handled never seeing her again. It was a fear he would never admit out loud that he had. Yet he had to end the hug and replace her to her feet.  With a soft chuckle he let his dark eyes take her in, she looked as if she was feeling better at least from what he could tell. Though he knew she was good at hiding her pain it would take conversation to make sure she was one hundred to be back.

“I’m glad you found your way back home.” he said softly to her as he reached up and pulled a leaf from her hair and gave a gentle smile. “You know this place hasn’t be the same without you around to be a pain in my ass.” he chuckled. They both came from the background of Evermore not being their home and yet somehow evermore founds its way to being there home somehow. It became a place where he started his own business, and chose to settle down after his last thirty something years traveling. “Remind me show you the sweet apartment set up above the club I am sure you will get a kick out of seeing it.” he chuckled lightly.

He watched as she made herself right at home as if she had never left it was nice to see her ro relaxed. “Well I will admit I had no idea how much of a time commitment being the Dhampir leader was. I have to bow my head to you for being able to keep everything as straight as you had for as long as you had. Along with trying to have a life of your own.” he gave a shake of his head. “If you need any help don’t be afraid to ask. I will always be your right hand.” He said honestly hoping with him around and knowing her job she wouldn’t be afraid to ask for his help.

“Thank you he said looking around his office knowing she meant his whole club “Of course I will show you around before we get slammed.” he chuckled and then his smile dropped just slightly as she talked about him at the Ailward Manor. “No no nothing like that I just happen to be dating a guard name Dawn, she prefers to hang out in the manor.” he did leave out the part that the time spent there he was looking for the red haired aspect. Wanting to just see her was enough for him lately.

Donovan moved around his desk reaching in the drew for his sandwich he was going to eat for lunch pulling out some of the meat and offering it to Memphis. “Well you see Vally-Pop I don’t find myself entertaining woman like I use too since I am in a relationship.” he said somberly as he moved sitting himself down beside her and then raised a brow. “Surprises huh?” he asked and then leaned his head back calling out “Jared two specials!” “You got it boss.” he heard called back before he looked back to Val. “Now what are the surprises?” he asked leaning closer looking under his brow up to her.


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